Making business contacts is essential to your success, particularly if you work in a sales-oriented position. Although attending networking events is a good way to meet new contacts, you might just find that you’ve exhausted the contact pool after you attend a few events. Exploring other methods is essential if you want to constantly expand your contact list.
Potential business contacts are everywhere -- from your daughter’s softball game to the neighborhood block party. Make an effort to meet new people and engage in conversations with people when you’re standing in line at the grocery store or sitting in the stands at a hockey game. If you feel uncomfortable approaching someone at an event, ask a mutual friend or acquaintance to introduce you. Start with small talk about the event you’re attending and ask questions about the person and his line of work. You might be surprised how many potential contacts you’ve overlooked by not engaging in a little small talk.
I Can Help
Although volunteering for a professional organization in your target field is a good idea, don’t limit yourself to these organizations. Organizations and groups in your community also are good sources of potential clients. When you volunteer for a professional or civic organization, you already have something in common with your contacts. While initial conversations might center around the organization and the volunteer project, as you get to know the person, you might feel comfort discussing your background, experience and your business expertise.
Ask for Introductions
Let friends, family members and business contacts know that you’re interested in meeting new contacts. When you’re introduced by someone the person knows and trusts, you might find that the potential contact is more open to speaking to you at length. Make a call or send an email as soon as your friend or business contact lets you know that he’s contacted the potential new contact. Although making a sale might be your ultimate objective, don’t make a sales pitch during the call or email. Your goal should be to create and strengthen a social connection, notes the Inc. website.
Take It Online
Online forums offer the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world. Join forums that your potential contacts are likely to frequent. Engage in discussions and offer suggestions and help to others in the group. If you contribute something of value rather than blatantly troll for sales leads, others are more likely to want to know you. Don’t forget about online alumni networks. Chances are graduates from your alma mater live all over the globe and will be glad to get to know a fellow alum.
- Photo Credit David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
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